Happy New Year! Yes, I know I’m ridiculously late in saying that. People have been writing to ask if I’m all right because it’s been so long since I posted, so before I write one word about cooking, I want to assure you that I am fine.
Actually, I’m more than fine. By any means of measurement, objective (blood tests, CT scans, etc.) and subjective (I feel great), I am 100% back to normal. I’m finding that once people hear that you have had cancer, every little absence from a meeting or a party or a blog makes them fear for your health. The truth is I feel so good that I’ve been busy with lots of mundane projects, such as transferring all my files from Windows to my new iMac, staining and sealing my new front entry doors, and planning some trips with my daughter later this spring (final college visits, yay).
But another reason I haven’t posted is that I’ve been in a cooking slump.
My year got off to a bad start, cooking-wise, when the black-eyed pea loaf I made for New Year’s Day was a total flop. I started off with too much liquid, so it never firmed up in the middle, making it inedible, at least to humans. The dog, however, loved it and enjoyed a little piece as a treat every day for about 3 weeks. My husband even suggested I make it again as dog food!
I’ve had a couple of other flops, such as when I tried to veganize but instead destroyed this recipe for Rumbledethumps. At least we were able to eat the Rumbledethumps, with their vegan “cheese” that was more like a nutritional yeast crust, but such failures do make me feel like I’ve somehow lost my cooking mojo. I have been having success re-cooking a lot of my old recipes, so my problem isn’t in the execution but in the ideas. Every time I think I’ve come up with a unique idea for a recipe, it turns out that I’ve already made and blogged about something similar. That’s what sharing recipes online for over 20 years will do to you.
I finally decided that the only way to get over my blogging slump is to just find something simple and blog about it. Something like my new way of baking sweet potatoes.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve baked regular potatoes and sweet potatoes in two steps: pre-cook them in the microwave and then finish them off in the toaster oven. It’s a compromise that results in pretty good potatoes that cook quickly in the microwave yet have a little of that roasted flavor that only baking can impart. I didn’t think they could taste any better until I decided to change up one of the steps and pressure cook them in my Instant Pot rather than microwaving. Though they take a little longer in the PC, they come out so much moister and creamier than microwaved potatoes. Here’s how I do it:
Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes in the Pressure Cooker and Oven
- 1 sweet potato per person
- water boiling preferably
- Wash the sweet potatoes well. Poke each with a fork a few times.
- Put about 1 cup of hot water in your pressure cooker. (This is for a 6-quart Instant Pot; larger cookers may need more. Just make sure water covers the bottom of the pot.)
- Place a steaming rack or basket in the pot. Make sure the water is beneath the level of the rack. Place the potatoes on the rack, out of the water.
- How much time you pressure cook them will depend on the size of the sweet potatoes. For small potatoes, start with 14 minutes, medium 16 minutes, large 18 minutes. Lock your lid in place and bring to high pressure. (Instant Pot users, use the Manual setting and set the appropriate time.) It doesn’t matter how many potatoes you are cooking; set the timer according to the size of the largest potato.
- Cook at high pressure for the time listed for your size of sweet potatoes. Then remove from heat or turn your electric PC off. Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 minutes. Quick release the pressure if necessary after 10 minutes. Check the potatoes by poking down to the center with a fork. They should be relatively soft all the way through. If they seem hard in the middle, return them to the cooker, and pressure cook them for another minute or two. Quick release the pressure and check again. They should be done, but repeat if necessary.
- While the pressure is coming down, preheat your oven to 400F. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
Nutritional info is approximate.
If you’re looking for more pressure cooker recipes or just help in using your Instant Pot, check out these resources:
My Pressure Cooking Recipes on this Blog
More Pressure Cooker Recipes on FatfreeVegan.com
Instant Pot Vegan Recipes Facebook Group
Insta-Pot Users Group (Eat to Live)
The New Fast Food, Jill Nussinow’s book and website
Vegan Pressure Cooking, by JL Fields
Thanks for putting up with me as I dip my toe back in the blogging water. I’ll be back soon with something a little more complex. But not dog food!
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moonwatcherJanuary 28, 2015 at 11:23 am
HI Susan–this made me laugh–Romeo would have loved to have been at your house eating some of that “flop” of a black-eyed pea loaf along with Jazzy–are you SURE there’s not dog food recipes in your blog’s future??!! LOL
Seriously, though, this is a great idea. Although I don’t have an instant pot, I do now have a microwave and I started cooking my sweet potatoes in it this summer. Kind of hooked. But I do miss that roasted taste. So I will give the microwave-oven combo a try. Thanks for the great idea!!
(And I do trust that you’ll be back with another fabulous recipe for us humans!!)
KarenJanuary 28, 2015 at 11:43 am
Hey, Susan– Really glad you’re doing so well! Just wanted to let you know that it’s only really embarrassing when the dog won’t eat it either. Been there, done that!
KellyzkoolJanuary 28, 2015 at 11:44 am
That looks yummy! Now I want to buy an instant pot!
ErinJanuary 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm
Cooking slumps happen to all of us. I’ve been in a baking slump for the last couple of months and baking is usually where I shine. Oh well. By the way, now you have me totally craving Rumpledethumps. It’s been a long time since I had that. Maybe I will have better luck veganizing it! 🙂
CherylJanuary 28, 2015 at 12:19 pm
Hey Susan – even Ina has a recipe for a Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits which my Lab LOVES. So, if you wander once in a while from the “human” side why not have something good for our “furry kids”! LOL!
UshaJanuary 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm
Glad to hear you had such a productive Jan already!
*How about a compilation of your suggestions for Superbowl weekend? This saves yours truly from the exhausting business of doing a recipe search 🙂
*And my contribution to the vegan recipe collective…I made bisi bele bhath in the pressure cooker last night…because I was too lazy to cook my carbs, veg and protein separately. It’s ultimate comfort food, and a standby that appears often when odds and ends veggies pile up! Happy to share my version. There’s probably a million on the web too. It’s taken a few tries, but I think I’ve a decent quick version down.
Renee RocheleauJanuary 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm
Even if you posted a recipe on how to boil water, I’d read it! 🙂 You and your recipes are rock stars at our house. Sweet potatoes are on the menu tonight!
DonnaJanuary 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Thank you so much for all that you do in sharing your oh so wonderful recipes with your readers. I was so sad to hear of your breast cancer. My friend says all or most women today do not have enough iodine levels in our breast ducs and that has a lot to do with why we get breast cancer. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it or not, but would you mind talking to Dr. McDougall about breast cancer and iodine connection? I love that your recipes follow his & Mary’s advice. Talk about bad luck, last night I attempted to make quinoa with black beans and hot rotel tomatoes. The dish is absolutely yummy to my taste buds. I had started out using my precision induction cooktop which get condensation all over it and my countertop. Apparently, I had set it at too high of temperature and it caused the quinoa and vegetable broth (I use a Kathy Hester’s homemade slow cooker recipe for chickeny bouillon for the broth) to stick to the bottom of the pan. So I scraped out the portion that wasn’t stuck to the pan into a bowl and gave it to my neighbor who liked as is) With all that got stuck to the pan, I felt like it changed the ratio of the amount of quinoa to the rest of the ingredients to be added once the quinoa was cooked, and the broth absorbed. So I cleaned up the pan and started comepletely over. Fortunatly, I had made a double batch of the bouillon and enough bouillon to try again. I decided to use my stove top, and was successful the 2nd time around. The recipe is so delicious to my taste buds, but I kind of changed it up a bit. In that it calls for tomatoes, but since I like a bit of heat, I use a can of hot rotel in place of the tomatoes. It also calls for green onions, corn, and cilantro, etc. I’m thinking that oh so wonderful hot rotel is full of GMO’s and was wondering if you could provide a recipe I could use in it’s place so I didn’t have to feel I was eating gmo’s. It may not have GMO’s in it, but my guess is that it does. I will be happy to share the recipe with you, but I do not have it with me today, and I can’t remember the ratio of the ingredients. If I remember right you are not a big fan of cilantro. I love the stuff. You can easily use itailian parsley in it’s place. Anyway, just a little something for you to ponder as to a healthy replacement for the hot rotel, and for those that don’t care for a little kick, can use original, but why can’t muir glen organic brand just come up with something for us right? Well they haven’t so far, not that I have requested them to do it. Thank you in advance for any effort you put into this. If you would rather not bother, that’s fine as well, the choice is yours. I wonder if Chef Jason Wyrick has anything similiar. I don’t get emails from him anymore ever since he changed his website name. Anyway, I always look forward to your recipes Susan, you are an absolute inspiration to me with your wrtie ups as well. Good luck and have fun traveling this year with your daughter searching for the right college!
All my best,
MarthaJanuary 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm
So good to have you dipping your toes back in. And good to know you’re doing so well. Love the IP directions too.
MichèleJanuary 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm
It made me smile that you posted a sweet potato recipe because I am going through a Japanese sweet potato period. I buy 6 at a time and bake them at night 400F for 1 hour and leave them to cool overnight. I store them in the fridge and warm them up in the microwave as needed.
Japanese sweet potatoes are in a class of their own. Moist, sweet and delicious. Hope you try them again since I am sure you must have tried them before. I love your blog, whatever you write makes me smile. Thanks for all your great recipes which have helped me since 2008!
perkyJanuary 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm
Are you leaving them to cool overnight on the counter? I go back and forth on this…
CatherineJanuary 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm
I do love sweet potatoes
WinonaJanuary 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm
Wow! Perfect for me! We harvested about 350 pounds of sweet potatoes this year from our small plot (amazing!) AND I just got an Instant Pot for Christmas!! What could be better! My husband is pretty strong about not wanting the microwave used, so I’ve been just baking the sweet potatoes, mostly, taking up to an hour and a half. This will make it soo much faster! Thanks, Susan.
WinonaJanuary 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm
Adding: Have you tried Daiya for the top of your Rumbledethumps? (My family loves this dish without the topping or milk as “Bubble and Squeak.)
JulieJanuary 28, 2015 at 5:21 pm
Love Sweet Potatoes! Thanks for the recipe Susan:)
RobertaJanuary 28, 2015 at 6:22 pm
What a great idea! When I use my pressure cooker (electric stove) , I quickly bring the pressure to the highest point and turn of the burner. Let the pressure cooker sit on the burner and wait for the pressure to drop. Saves electricity and keeps the kitchen cooler.
PaulaJanuary 28, 2015 at 7:08 pm
I have never heard of an insta pot, so I have google it. If it will speed up cooking I am all for it. I am glad you’re back. I I’ve been following and trying your recipes for the last 5 years.
oceanfrontcabinJanuary 28, 2015 at 10:25 pm
Hm-m-m. When I get into a cooking slump, I head for my favorites from your wonderful blog!
Lisa | The Viet VeganJanuary 29, 2015 at 1:18 am
Glad to hear you’re doing well and you’re back in swing, cooking flops and all. I had the same sort of thing, flop wise. Ever since December all the different dishes I try end up being lackluster or simply a huge fail. I made banana bread and forgot SUGAR. What is wrong with me?
I’ve never owned a pressure cooker, or used one, but super ultra creamy sweet potatoes certainly seem like an excellent reason to try one.
JillJanuary 29, 2015 at 3:15 am
Hi, pleased to see you back. I can empathise with the lack of cooking mojo – it can disappear easily and be hard to find again. I am sure yours will return.
Kathy AlexanderJanuary 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm
I tried this a couple of months ago and absolutely love how much faster than just baking the potatoes and with finishing them off in the oven they still have that great flavor. My pressure cooker came with a steamer insert, which is what gave me the idea since I don’t like using the microwave for potatoes.
carol galicJanuary 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm
Good Heavens, No need to apologize…. Everyone needs a break and the gift of being able to walk away from something for a while. And when we don’t do it, the universe often sends a message that makes us do it. Thanks for all the wonderful food you have made it possible for me to cook. I might not ever have stayed committed to being vegan without your blog.
MichèleJanuary 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm
I let them cool in the oven overnight. No problem. Taste great.
LynndelJanuary 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm
First, I’m sorry to hear you have cancer. I’ll be praying for you and your family.
I do have a question, do you have list of kitchen items that you use? I saw you use a pressure cooker. Do you have any recommendations on a particular kind?
FaithJanuary 29, 2015 at 2:28 pm
Thanks Susan. I wouldn’t have thought of this. I am just starting to play with the IP.
Don’t feel bad on the black eyed peas. I didn’t realize you shouldn’t soak prior to cooking in the IP. I soaked overnight, and when I pulled my book to see how long to cook – it had it there. Needless to say, because I soaked them, the skins all came off and plugged up the IP vent so it just spit and spit and never sealed. What a mess.
LizJanuary 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Glad to have you back! When bloggers up and disappear from their site without warning, I always check social media. If that’s active, I don’t worry and trust they’ll start blogging again when ready. I was VERY pleasantly surprised to hear how busy and active you’ve been, though! Good for you!
E V E R Y O N E has cooking slumps, though, I imagine it must be a bit more stressful and worrisome when you’re a FOOD blogger. I’ve found, though, that focusing on it and stressing about it tend to make it even worse. I just go with the flow and ride it out. Just try not to sweat it too much, keep doing your side projects (ie: LIFE!) and keeping you’re brain busy and, when the time is right, you and your mojo will be reunited. 🙂
Alisa WiegelJanuary 30, 2015 at 9:40 am
Hey Susan, you are my favorite blogger and I don’t mind a slump. You’ve helped me learn to cook and I can’t thank you enough. Since I don’t have a pressure cooker yet, I wanted to share how I cook sweet potatoes. First I wait until I can find them for 25 cents a pound then buy as many as will fit on the 2 racks in my oven ( I buy in bulk about 3 times when in season). Wash them and bake at 375 for 1 hour. When they have cooled completely place in quart freezer bags 3-4 per bag and freeze. Thaw and reheat in microwave or covered dish in toaster oven. They taste amazing and are fast when I need to pack them in a lunch box or need a fast dinner. It also saves electricity baking a full ovens worth as opposed to baking 3 for one meal. I usually have enough in the freezer to last a year.
TinaJanuary 30, 2015 at 10:34 am
I’ve also been happy with the results of pressure cooking my potatoes and sweet potatoes alike, but I wondered about baking them a bit after pressure cooking. Thanks, Susan! I bet the skins crisp up a bit too! And no apologies for simple foods! In fact, the simpler, the better for me! 🙂
ClareJanuary 31, 2015 at 5:27 am
I love baked potatoes. Another nice and simple recipe to make on the pressure cooker.
DeeFebruary 1, 2015 at 8:10 am
Welcome back, as to doing recipes that other people have done while that may be true of some of your creations one thing also holds true. I have found in the case of vegan yogurt recipes, I tried so many recipes and all of the yogurt recipes came out too runny. This was stressful but kept searching until I found a soy tofu yogurt recipe on another site that finally worked. So although sometimes others have done recipes yours could be the one that works for someone like me. I have been vegetarian for 9 years and vegan for past 2 since becoming lactose intolerant. Your Chickpea Omelet Mix was the only version I got to cook through perfectly, thank you.
VegmammaFebruary 1, 2015 at 9:45 am
So glad you’re feeling great again! I received an Instant Pot for Christmas and I can’t believe I’ve spent most of my life without a pressure cooker. I’ve been making soups, beans, rice, tough greens, and chili in it, but I will definitely try sweet potatoes in it this week…just bought some nice organic ones yesterday. I’m also going to try to make Buckaroo Beans (a pinto bean/chili/BBQ type of baked beans) that usually take 3 hours to simmer or bake — waiting for a snow day for those because there is an unwritten rule that you have to eat them with warm homemade bread! Thanks for your recipes and helpful instructions.
VegmammaFebruary 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm
UPDATE: Made the sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot last night — best. spuds. ever.
DH said he could eat them every night! Thanks for the suggestion!
ConnieFebruary 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm
Thank you for the sweet potato in the pressure cooker recipe. Do you have any other recipes you can recommend for those with arthritis pain? Basically brown rice and cooked green and yellow vegetables and squash and sweet potatoes, food like that, with salt as the primary seasoning agent. The nightshades (potatoes, peppers, tomatoes) and wheat really hurt my fingers and cause swelling, as does oil. Thanks again for your continual efforts.
Jacqueline MeldrumFebruary 5, 2015 at 8:53 am
That’s a shame about the rumbledethumps Susan, I know you were looking forward to them. Why not make them without the cheesey topping next time? The sweet potato does indeed look perfect! Thanks for linking to me.
Connie FletcherFebruary 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm
I am so very glad to hear you’re doing well…I’ve been praying for you, and will continue to do so. I love your recipes, and really love the idea of the sweet potatoes in a pressure cooker! Thanks!
Dover ParkviewFebruary 8, 2015 at 7:04 pm
Welcome back Suzie! It’s been a long time since you update your blog. I feel great to know that you are fine. I keep browsing your site for delicious recipe in here. It’s amazing how you never out of ideas on what to cook!
BeccaFebruary 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm
Sounds delicious – I love sweet potatoes! They’re so warming in winter.
CatherineFebruary 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm
Sweet potatoes are a favorite here. They are so good and healthy too.
Eliza DeppFebruary 11, 2015 at 8:14 am
I appreciate your recipe. Sure, I will try it on this valentine day for someone 🙂
Pam CampbellFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:52 am
I am new to this way of eating, and over the past couple of months have been experimenting with your recipes. On Christmas Day, not fully vegan, I had my family for dinner and got a piece of ham “stuck” in my esophagus. I said to myself while I was waiting for the ambulance to come, my life is now divided between before Christmas Day, 2014, and after Christmas Day on 2014. Since then, I have been living on your blog and thriving on your recipes. I have lost 12 pounds, my blood pressure is down, and my symptoms of gastric reflux are gone. My doctor, who has also been living on this diet, was so happy. He suspects that by the summer, I will be off my BP meds. I couldn’t have done it without your website–truly! I have learned how to cook in a vastly different way and visit here when I get discouraged. You have been such an inspiration! Just wanted you to know how much you have helped me change my life! ~Pam
Susan VoisinFebruary 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm
Pam, that must have been terrifying! I’m so glad you were all right and went on to change your life so significantly. YOU are an inspiration, and I’m just happy that my website was able to help. Thanks for posting!
Vegan JunctionFebruary 11, 2015 at 4:42 pm
Sweet potatoes are such a lovely food. Simple, yet truly satisfying!
TracyNovember 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm
Hi Susan. I love your website!
Unfortunately, I do not have a pressure cooker. However, I do have a large electric rice cooker with a spacious steamer basket. Do you think I would get the same results as using a pressure cooker if I just put the potatoes in the steamer basket? I was eyeing your sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and trying to determine the best way to prepare the potatoes for it.
My husband and I are newly converted vegans and trying to come up with new recipes and dishes that we enjoy. Thank you for so much inspiration, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Susan VoisinNovember 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm
You might be able to use a rice cooker, but you’d need to watch it very carefully. Rice cookers are designed to boil dry–they turn off when the rice has absorbed all the water. So you might need to keep adding water, and it would take a lot longer than a pressure cooker. Do you use a microwave? That’s a great way to gambler the sweet potatoes for the casserole.
I hope you and your husband find some great recipes for your Thanksgiving. Congratulations on being new vegans!
TinaNovember 26, 2015 at 2:50 pm
I did my sweet potatoes in my instant pot this year for the first time and they were great. Thank-you!